A Rainwater Collection Network for Determining PFAS/GenX in Rainwater Samples

Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in the Environment - Session 3
Oral Presentation

Prepared by J. Bowyer
NC Division of Air Quality, NC Division of Air Quality Laboratory, 1622 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC, 27699-1622, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 919-715-7484


Emerging compounds are being defined as relatively unknown or unregulated compounds that are increasingly being detected in soil, groundwater, and surface water. The emerging compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, and GenX, are of growing concern both nationally and in North Carolina. The NC Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Health and Human Services began investigating the presence of Gen X in the Cape Fear River in June 2017. The Chemours facility in Bladen County, southeast of Fayetteville was subsequently identified as the source of the GenX. As part of the state’s investigation focusing on protecting public health and drinking water, DEQ began collecting water samples from multiple sites along the Cape Fear River and throughout the region. Private citizen well water sampling results and their distribution indicated that there was an airborne component involved. Subsequently, the Division of Air Quality investigated the facility’s emissions and required stack testing of those emissions, ultimately resulting in requiring the facility to install control measures that will reduce facility-wide GenX emissions by 99% from a 2017 emissions baseline. In an effort to understand GenX and other PFAS deposition in the surrounding area and whether there was a downward trend in that deposition as controls were being brought online, a network of rainwater collection sites to monitor GenX and PFAS in rainwater was established at 5 sites around the facility in the Spring of 2018. Wet and dry deposition samples are collected weekly and analyzed using EPA Method 537.1 – Determination of Selected PFASs in Drinking Water by Solid Phase Extraction and LC/MS/MS. This presentation will include the narrative of the network’s establishment and results of the weekly near-field samples as well as those from an expanded network that includes sites across North Carolina.